TARC’s executive director, Ferdinand Risco Jr., resigned abruptly on February 14th, 2020 amid claims of sexual harassment, inappropriate sexual conduct, and sexual quid pro quo. The allegations are under investigation by an outside agency as per the mayor’s office.
Six Women Accused TARC Executive Director
48 year old Risco is being accused by six women over linking advancement opportunities with sexual favors. He has been accused of sending lewd photos to employees, suggestive messages, and inappropriate touching as told by their employment lawyer, Thomas Clay.
Clay is known to frequently represent clients in sexual harassment and abuse cases. He alerted Deputy Mayor Ellen Hesen about the allegations through an email and called the behavior “quid pro quo”.
Full Scale Investigation Underway
TARC board Chairwoman Mary Morrow along with Hesen contacted the county attorney’s office who hired a law firm to investigate the events. A full council investigation was started when Metro Councilman Anthony Piagentini learned of the allegations. Piagentini is the vice chairman of the government committee that has the authority to subpoena TARC officials.
Piagentini stated that a full scale investigation was necessary since Risco was directly appointed by Mayor Fischer. He also stated that women had been victimized and the administration had to do everything they could to deter such behavior in the future.
Metro Council President David James spoke of the allegations with Hesen and was confident that everything was being done as required. Initial investigation has revealed information about Risco’s predatory behavior at his former workplace.
Multiple women who worked with and under Risco at MARTA have come forward with allegations of creating a hostile work environment and sexual discrimination. The claims include crude behavior, sexual harassment, and bullying. However, the allegations have been dismissed by MARTA, the public transit system in Atlanta.
Protect Rights against Sexual Harassment
Workplace sexual harassment is illegal under Kentucky and federal law. Unfortunately, it is still quite rampant in workplaces across the state. Victims have rights whether they have had to endure sexual advances or other forms of harassment at the hands of a manager, supervisor, co-worker, or any other person.
An employment attorney or a sexual harassment lawyer can help victims fight to protect those rights against sexual discrimination and harassment at the workplace. The burden of proving sexual harassment falls on the victim. It can be tricky to navigate a lawsuit since the requirements vary as per the position held, position of the harasser, and county and state laws.
This makes it important to consult with an experienced sexual harassment attorney as soon as possible.